Do you think birth control is killing your sex drive?

How birth control can affect your libido


What is birth control?

Birth control, or contraception, simply means the various techniques or devices that people use to prevent pregnancy. About 62% of women of reproductive age in the United States use some form of contraception.

As a reminder, pregnancy happens when the man’s sperm reaches and fertilizes one of the woman’s eggs. So how does birth control work? Basically, what birth control is meant to do is to stop the sperm from reaching the egg. This is achieved by keeping the egg and the sperm separated, by stopping egg production altogether, or by stopping the fertilized egg (when the sperm reaches the egg) from attaching to the womb.

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There are different types of birth control, which gives you the freedom to discover what method is best for you! The following table displays the various birth control options listed by Planned Parenthood: 

It is both the man and the woman’s responsibility to think about birth control. Neither party should be dissuaded against using birth control against their will. Also, barrier methods such as condoms are very important for safer sex! So ‘no glove, no love’ if you are at risk of catching or transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).


Is birth control affecting my sex drive?

 It is generally agreed that there is no significant loss of sexual desire connected to hormonal contraceptive methods such as the pill, the hormonal IUD or the patch. However, most studies have focused on the pill, which means that there is not enough data on how other forms of hormonal contraception might impact your sex drive. What's more, published data since the 1960s has been conflicting and inconsistent. For example, in 2016, researchers conducted a study where they surveyed nearly 2000 women who had started a new contraception method. The study found no particular change in sex drive in women using oral contraceptives, the hormonal patch, or the hormonal IUD. However, about 24% of women using the vaginal ring, copper IUD, contraceptive implants, or Depo-Provera shot did indeed report a reduced sex drive after 6 months.

It may be the case that for some women, sex drive is indeed affected by their contraceptive method, but experts believe that this is probably limited to a small number. Some studies support the possibility that psychological factors may influence your sex drive more than your contraceptive pill.  It is important to understand that female sexual desire, or human sexual desire is not always consistent, and changes over time.  Sexual desire can be affected as much by social, cultural and interpersonal factors as by hormonal factors. 

The bottom line is this: Because there is always a possibility that your sex drive may be affected by your birth control, health professionals should not dismiss your concerns. You know your body and you sexuality better than anyone else. If you notice an abnormal decrease in your libido and you suspect that this may be caused by your birth control, then by all means, you have the right to express your concerns to your GP or gynecologist and explore other options! However, before jumping to conclusions about your birth control, you might want to stop for a second and take a moment to evaluate other factors: Have you been working too much lately? Are you stressed? Have you been getting enough sleep? Are you happy in your relationship? Are you still attracted to your partner?

Your sexuality is complex and multifaceted, and as with everything, there are highs and there are lows. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ libido because everyone’s sex drive is different. Many people experience loss of sexual interest at some point.  Talk to a health professional if your reduced sex drive distresses you and you feel uncomfortable with your birth control. There are plenty of other methods that might suit you better. Do not neglect the impact of your physical and mental well being as this plays a major role in your love life too!


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